Broadband feasibility study, public surveys underway in South Lake Tahoe

Submitted to the Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The city of South Lake Tahoe has embarked on a Broadband Feasibility Study to identify how it can improve broadband and internet service and infrastructure.

NEO Connect, a broadband consulting firm, has been retained to conduct the analysis and present recommendations. The City Council recognizes the importance of high-speed broadband to the community in order to improve employment, educational, and economic development opportunities. The study directly addresses the council’s Strategic Priority 1.1 “Broadband for All” initiative.

The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the need to have reliable, affordable, and robust internet service at home, to support telecommuting, online education and telehealth applications, and much more. In response to these realities, state and federal programs have released over $400 billion to improve broadband infrastructure. In addition to funding, the state has responded by setting a goal for all businesses and homes to have access to at least one provider of broadband with download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and upload speeds of at least 20 megabits per second no later than 2026.

The feasibility study, which aligns with state goals, aims to identify potential paths to leverage available funding. In particular, the study will identify existing fiber-optic cable, conduit, and other telecommunication infrastructure and assets. Once these are mapped, NEO Connect will identify gaps in service coverage and will put together a plan to fill those gaps. Planning activities include working with local and regional stakeholders and service providers, establishing plans and estimated capital costs, and identifying potential partners to facilitate improving broadband infrastructure. This effort will help existing service providers by facilitating open discussion about how to jointly solve communication gaps in coverage, as well as improving existing infrastructure to enable faster broadband speeds. The city will also look at how to leverage funding to build its own fiber network to improve services for citizens.

Internet surveys are available for residents and businesses in the area to provide feedback and information about the level of services currently available, how the internet is currently being used, and what is most important to community members regarding high-speed internet services. The residential and business surveys are available in English and Spanish at through Aug. 1.

NEO Connect recently completed a study for El Dorado County, and for the five-county Central Sierra region in California.

“NEO is thrilled to be working with the city of South Lake Tahoe on this project,” company CEO Diane Kruse said in a news release. “We are big supporters of community and regional collaboration to improve broadband services and look forward to working with the key stakeholders of this region to put forward a plan.” 

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Source: City of South Lake Tahoe

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